30-Aug-2013 -- I was in a bit of a haste to reach 37 North 102 West, but in retrospect, I should have stopped to take a picture of a hotel that was falling apart, roof collapsed, paint long since gone, just across from the Courthouse in Boise City. The sign was still intact: Palace Hotel. But it was a good memory as I traveled east and then northeast out of this town in the panhandle of Oklahoma one very hot late summer day. I drove northeast out of town on US Highway 56, passing other wonderful photo opportunities such as an abandoned farmstead. One has to admire the early settlers here, the Native Americans who lived here, and the settlers and the Native Americans who remain here today. It is a stark landscape but a beautiful one. It can snow here and it can also, like today, be scorching hot. Oh yes, and there can be hail, wind, and tornadoes.
After a half hour on US 56, I stopped just as I left the highway, on the gravel road (Road Mi 1) that according to my calculations would take me due north to the confluence. Sandy road was more like it, and I pondered whether I would get stuck in the sand. It was at this point where I suffered the most. No doubt the early settlers crossing this territory, and the Native Americans who were living here as well, might have considered me a lightweight. But I was about as hot as I had ever been in this vehicle. I had no air conditioning. Was it worse with hot air blowing from the fan, or worse without any air at all? The outside temperature, I would later find out, was around 105. Was it perhaps 115 in the vehicle? More? I drove north gingerly and the road seemed to improve in places. The sand was a bright shade and there was not a cloud in the sky, just after 2:00pm local time. I drove due north, and as I expected, not all of the streets displaying on my phone were real streets. I tracked east, then north again, and finally ended at a T intersection which I knew marked the Kansas-Oklahoma state line. Kansas was straight ahead. This road was gravel, and made for easier travel. I drove down a short slope to the west, with Kansas on my right and Oklahoma on my left, noting with a sinking heart that the confluence would be located in the very tall cornfield to my right, or on the north side of the road. Corn was not easy to traverse, and it was not far from harvest time, and therefore was standing about 7 feet tall.
I turned in a U-turn so as not to be parking facing into the sun. I donned sunblock, hat, GPS, and camera, and walked in what turned out to be a counterclockwise circuit of the enormous circle of center-pivot irrigated corn. As I circumnavigated its east side, it adjoined another circle to the east-northeast. Between these was a very large expanse of mud from the irrigation and I became quite muddy traversing it. On the northeast side of it now, I reached a point about 39 meters from the confluence point. The point itself was definitely in the tall corn (maize).
I was standing between the two rows of corn that were on 37 North. They fortunately had been planted in a straight east-west line. If I walked due west, I would be at the confluence in less than 40 steps. Should I do it? I was closer than the confluence requirement of 100 meters already, and in deference to the landowner, decided that the location I was currently on was good enough. Therefore I took the requisite photographs at this point, noting as I did so that my socks and pants were covered with very nasty and prickly burrs. I made another note which were the offending plants on the ground: They seemed to proliferate at the boundary between the corn and the alfalfa beyond. Thereafter I tried to avoid them, which proved to be a difficult task.
The confluence therefore lies on the northeast side of the giant circle of irrigated corn, on ground sloping ever so slightly up to the west. The longest view was to the northeast, but only about a mile, as the confluence was in a fairly low spot in the local area. I had been to 37 North in California, Missouri, Arizona, Colorado, and over in Tunisia, and to 102 West from Nebraska on the north to a few points in Kansas down to this current point on the south. I saw a few birds, lots of grasshoppers and other insects, and no animals. The temperature stood at somewhere over 100 F on this late summer afternoon on the second to the last day of August. The sky was almost devoid of clouds. I was near another point of geographic significance, that of the corner where Kansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma meet, just a short distance (less than one mile) to the west. However, this trek had taken longer than I had expected--over an hour walking, and I needed to press on to my next destination. The tri-corner would have to wait for another trip.
On the way out, I passed the location where the sprinklers were active on the massive circle of corn. I paused here to make a video on center pivot irrigation. Afterwards, I walked due south to the gas infrastructure and back to the vehicle, which, as expected, was burning hot after sitting there in the sun. I spent awhile there pouring water on myself, taking a few more self photographs since I was wearing my "Lost?" GPS shirt, and picking burrs out of my clothing. Then, I drove due east along the state line past the farmhouse of the landowner, which was tidy and decorated on the front fence with a rancher pausing to pray. Seeing that, I was doubly glad I had not ventured into the corn itself. I drove on to Elkhart, a nice community right on the Kansas side of the state line. I found a pull out on US 56 and paused there to eat an enormous tomato from a family member's garden in Colorado and to take some nerdy photographs of myself at the Welcome to Kansas sign. I then set off to the northeast on US Highway 56 once more, bound for 37 North 101 West. The sign at the bank gave the temperature as 103 F. It was past midafternoon now. Would I make it before the sun set?